The kings of Israel, Judah and Edom determine to go up and fight against Mesha, king of Moab. It seems the king of Moab failed to continue providing 100,000 lambs and the wool of 100,000 rams that he had been giving as tribute to Ahab, king of Israel. So Ahab's son, Jehoram, decides to exact revenge on this king who was 'on the lamb.'

Because of the victory God was giving to these kings against Moab, King Mesha, decides to offer his oldest son as a burnt offering. What cruelty! What barbarism! The king had to task someone to find and restrain his son. Someone had to lead him to the place of burning. Someone had to prepare the fire and secure the son in place. This king cruelly murdered his son because he believed he could placate...bribe..manipulate his bloodthirsty, sadistic god.

The astounding contrast appears in the verses which follow. A Shunammite woman was given a son by her God...a God Who is characterized by grace and mercy. She was attending to the needs of one of God's prophets and God blessed her as a result. Curiously, she did not ask for a son but it was her deepest longing. God loves and tends to the needs of His people, even when they do not ask and....He cannot be bribed.

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What a contrast we see in today's One Year Bible reading! Second Kings 1 & 2 find Elijah prophesying against King Ahaziah and the king sending troops to bring Elijah before the his presence. When the first troop of 50 shows up, Elijah calls down fire from heaven and they are all consumed. When the second group of 50 arrives, Elijah calls down fire again and they are consumed. The third group of 50 approaches Elijah a bit more humbly and are spared. Then a bit later in the text Elisha 'curses' a group of boys 'in the name of the Lord' who were making fun of his bald head. Two female bears appear and tear these 42 boys up! In case you are keeping count, that is 142 dead in the first two chapter of 2 Kings.

Today's NT (Acts 13:42-14:7) reading finds Paul and his companions teaching at Pisidian Antioch and, because of the response to their teaching, Paul is persecuted and forced to flee to Iconium. While at Iconium, there was an attempt to mistreat and stone Paul so he and his friends once again were forced to flee.

Persecution and mistreatment by those opposed to God's message has not changed. But something has changed....WHERE IS THE DEVOURING FIRE?! In churches and 'Christian media' today believers are regularly told they should never suffer, never lack, never want, never......all that is needed is 'claim it in the name of Jesus'! Yet, that was not the experience of Paul or his companions or the apostles of Christ or saints through the ages....or even Elijah. There is coming a day when God's children will NOT face want or lack or pain or.....! But that reality awaits us in the place Jesus is preparing for us. Beware of confusing this earthly kingdom for His eternal Kingdom....some of the kings of Israel did that and it did not end well!

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